Imagine the marriage of a huge rave party in a warehouse (all the rage in some parts of the world) and a Buddhist temple. Now imagine a Buddhist monk dressed in traditional robes, sporting headphones, and handling a DJ console.
That’s Gyosen Asakura’s “techno memorial services” for you. Twice a year, Fukui’s Shoonji Temple is transformed into a “techno temple” of sorts. The 49-year-old DJ-turned priest metamorphoses the Buddhist services into an unorthodox Buddhist-rave service with music and lighting.
The aim is to attract the younger generations to Buddhism, and not let the religion fade away.
Asakura believes music is a way to introduce the Buddhist “pure land” to the public. The electronic music he plays – which varies from IDM (Intelligent Dance Music) to breakbeats – is interspersed with Buddhist scriptures. “The sacred scripture describes the Buddhist “pure land” as a beautiful world filled with amazing lights. In the old days when electricity didn’t exist people tried to recreate atmosphere by lacing sculptures with gold-leaf to reflect candle light. I want to recreate this atmosphere with electronic technology,” says Akura, in the video above.
Watch his stunning memorial service, which tries to “represent paradise with contemporary light” below: